If you’ve suffered from a form of hepatitis, or are still infected and currently undergoing treatment, you may be wondering if you qualify for life insurance.
Obtaining life insurance with hepatitis is common, especially if you know the steps to take when choosing a life insurance company and preparing for your application.
Let’s get into detail so you know exactly what to expect when applying for life insurance with hepatitis.
The three most common types of hepatitis in the United States are hepatitis A, B, and C. The viruses are unrelated to one another, but all can cause complications or long-term damage to the liver, which is one of the body’s most vital organs.
Impaired liver function can lead to serious health risks, as the liver is responsible for purifying toxins which enter the body, creating proteins used by cells to function and regenerate, and storing essential minerals and vitamins the body uses for energy.
An unhealthy or permanently damaged liver can make you a higher risk to a life insurance company.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, new cases of hepatitis A and C have been on the rise, with an estimated 24,900 and 50,300 cases respectively in 2018 . Hepatitis B rates have stayed relatively steady for the past decade.
Anyone can contract hepatitis, including babies, young children, and teens.
Hepatitis A and B are most commonly contracted by:
- Coming into contact with bodily fluids or stool of an infected person
- Having sexual contact with an infected person, especially men who have sex with other men
- Traveling to a country or region with high rates of hepatitis
Hepatitis C is most common among adults, especially those who use recreational injection drugs.
Each type of hepatitis has different incubation periods, symptoms, and duration of illness, but symptoms common to all types of hepatitis include:
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
Individuals who are infected with hepatitis A can expect to experience symptoms for a few weeks to a few months, without the fear of developing a chronic illness.
Hepatitis B often takes longer to present itself, and those infected are typically sick for several months. Developing chronic illness and liver damage is more common in younger patients, so if you are infected with hepatitis B as an adult, you have a good chance of full recovery.
Individuals who are newly diagnosed with hepatitis C are at the highest risk for developing a chronic infection and developing liver disease, which can result in death. This is why life insurance companies have to take these conditions into serious consideration.
Vaccinations are available to prevent hepatitis A and B. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but treatments are available.
The best way to prevent hepatitis is to educate yourself on the ways it can be transmitted and take precautions.
If you have been diagnosed and treated for hepatitis A, and you are practicing an otherwise healthy lifestyle, free of alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs, your life insurance application should be approved.
Be sure to disclose your illness and the treatment you underwent. Your life insurance medical exam will confirm you are in good health.
If you have been infected with hepatitis B or C, you can expect the life insurance company to ask the following:
- When you were diagnosed
- What treatment you underwent or are on currently
- Whether your infection became chronic
- If you have liver disease or cirrhosis of the liver
- What liver function tests you have had and their results
- What other health risks you may have
- If you have regular visits with your doctor or specialist
- Whether or not you smoke or use alcohol
The insurance underwriter is looking to see if you have your hepatitis under control and if you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
He or she will determine if you are putting any additional stress on your liver or are living a high-risk lifestyle which may put you in additional danger of other serious health conditions.
If you have been completely recovered from hepatitis A for six months or more, are not experiencing any symptoms, and are in otherwise good health, you can expect to receive the best rates possible for life insurance, which are Preferred and Preferred Plus. You will not be seen as an impaired risk by the underwriter.
If you had hepatitis B and it did not develop into a chronic infection, have been free of symptoms for more than six months, and are otherwise in good health, you can expect to receive a Standard or Standard Plus rating from several life insurance companies. You may be asked to provide specific details about how you managed your illness and how you manage your current lifestyle.
If your hepatitis B turned into a chronic infection, you are managing it under a doctor’s care, and your liver function is normal (you’ll need tests to prove it), you can expect to receive a Standard health class rating. Your premiums may not be as low as you’d like, but you will still be able to receive life insurance coverage.
Individuals with hepatitis C can expect to receive Standard health care rates if they are managing their disease and can show they have not developed liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver, or other health conditions. Premiums will be slightly less affordable, but coverage is still available.
If you have chronic hepatitis C and have severe liver damage, liver disease, cirrhosis, or other health conditions like cancer or HIV/AIDS, you will likely be declined for life insurance.
Let us help you to determine your suitability for life insurance before applying.